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March 29th, 2011

Hadith in Bukhari and Muslim on descent of Jesus

Our opponents keep on referring to the hadith reports in Bukhari and Muslim speaking of the descent of Jesus. But these reports also mention other events in this connection (that he will break the cross, kill the swine, slay the Dajjal, etc). So the question is: Can the other events be also taken literally?

Let us look at the coming of the Dajjal, whom Jesus will fight and slay.

(The links below open with the hadith referred to being located at the top of the page.)

For Jesus descending and fighting the Dajjal, see para 2 of this report: Muslim 041.7015

Yet according to several hadith, despite these signs, some companions including Umar strongly held that a man called Ibn Sayyad was the Dajjal, and the Holy Prophet himself considered that this might be so. See the following in Bukhari:
Bukhari 009.092.453

and the following in Muslim:
Muslim 041.6999

Ibn Sayyad denied being the Dajjal, arguing that he didn’t fulfil the signs, yet the companions did not seem to want to give up the idea that he was the Dajjal. See:

Muslim 041.6994 and subsequent reports.

According to another hadith in Muslim, the Holy Prophet and his companions were, it seems, trying to investigate if Ibn Sayyad could be the Dajjal, and yet in the same report a sign of Dajjal given by the Holy Prophet is that he will have the word “kafir” written between his eyes. See: Muslim 041.7000

It is perfectly clear that the Holy Prophet and his companions were not applying the signs of the Dajjal literally and considered this to be a valid method of interpretation. Note also that they were expecting the Dajjal to arise soon. That never materialised. This illustrates the principle that even the one receiving a prophecy from Allah can be unaware and unsure of when and how it will be fulfilled.

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